Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler with her lawyer James Harding outside the Federal Court after their victory. Picture: Supplied
Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler with her lawyer James Harding outside the Federal Court after their victory. Picture: Supplied

Queensland woman wins back her ‘Castle’ after legal battle

WHEN Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler found out she had not legally owned her home and "her castle" for the past six years she had one thing to say - "Tell 'em they're dreaming".

Despite 21 years at the Cayley St house, living next door to her parents and caring for them while dutifully paying her mortgage, rates and expenses, a bankruptcy technicality meant she had not legally owned it since 2013.

But backed by her pro bono lawyer James Harding, who put Bud Tingwell to shame, they took their case to the Federal Court - and won.

Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler found out last year that due to a legal technicality she had not owned her house for the past six years. But a landmark Federal Court hearing overturned the rule and gave her back her house. She is pictured with her dog Willow . PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler found out last year that due to a legal technicality she had not owned her house for the past six years. But a landmark Federal Court hearing overturned the rule and gave her back her house. She is pictured with her dog Willow . PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

"It's just my home, my sanctuary, it means everything to me," Ms Hausler told the Cairns Post.

"I've lived there so long it would have been very distressing to have to leave.

"For the last year I tried to disassociate because it may not be mine anymore."

Ms Hausler said she was devastated when Mr Harding told her it would cost $30,000 to try to get her name back on the deed and they still might not even win.

"I just broke down in tears," she said.

Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler with her lawyer James Harding outside the Federal Court after their victory. Picture: Supplied
Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler with her lawyer James Harding outside the Federal Court after their victory. Picture: Supplied

The technicality only came to light when she had attempted to refinance the property to get a lower interest rate. It had occurred because the trustee appointed to manage the 2013 bankruptcy chose not to repossess the house, but unbeknown to Ms Hausler the deed of her home had been transferred to Westpac bank.

The 54-year-old administration officer said it potentially could have gone unnoticed until she retired. Mr Harding's firm Holding Redlich decided to take on the case for free.

In a judgment handed down in Brisbane, the court found despite the legal interest being vested in the Crown, Ms Hausler had established an ongoing connection to the property which was sufficient to warrant her legal ownership.

So basically it was the vibe.

Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler (centre) with her parents and neighbours Elaine and Dean Hausler and her lawyer James Harding. Picture: Supplied
Trinity Beach woman Robyn Hausler (centre) with her parents and neighbours Elaine and Dean Hausler and her lawyer James Harding. Picture: Supplied

"This is the first case of its kind in Australia given the peculiar mistake of law by all the parties involved," Mr Harding said. "Certainly without the legal expertise or means to challenge the legal situation, Robyn would have lost her home…"

Ms Hausler said she had tears pouring down her face as the court result was read. She called Mr Harding "my hero".

Ms Hausler did not disclose whether she would be celebrating the victory with a trip to Bonnie Doon, but it seems certain the court ruling will be heading straight to the pool room.